Bradys Bend Township gets grant to ease water woes
BRADYS BEND — Water water isn’t everywhere in Bradys Bend Township, especially in the village of Roseville. In fact, water is not only a scarce commodity, but what water the some two dozen Roseville residents are able to squeeze out of their wells is at best, poor quality.
Because of Roseville’s elevation, for residents to obtain water from the Bradys Bend Water and Sewer Authority, the project would necessitate a new water main going up hill and a pump system. The proposed project would cost about $660,000.
Roseville homeowners saw glimmer of hope Thursday thanks to a $100,000 state grant secured by state Sen. Don White.
On Thursday, White met with Bradys Bend township officials and Roseville residents to present a check for the project. The $100,000 funding will cover the engineering fees and a portion of construction costs.
“We really need this check and we appreciate Sen. White’s efforts,” said Roseville resident Tom Kelly. “We have a serious water problem in Roseville that’s developed over the years. There about 26 homes up here. We all have wells, but they produce very little water and the water quality is very bad. If you shower, especially in the summer, you have to make it quick or your well will run dry. My wife and I have to use a water distiller to get safe drinking water.”
Bradys Bend township supervisor John Hiles, who was present to meet with Sen. White, agreed, saying that there are times when Roseville residents must have water hauled in to meet basic living needs. Hiles said he hopes additional grants and funding will be secured by the residents so the water project can begin sometime in 2003.
Carmen Johnson of the Armstrong County Office of Planning and Development said there is a possibility that Roseville residents may qualify for additional grant money from PennVest to cover 50 percent or more of the remaining cost.
Members of the Bradys Bend Water and Sewer Authority did not meet with White Thursday.
Authority secretary-treasurer Tracy Jack said authority board members were not notified that White would be in Bradys Bend until Wednesday evening and were unprepared to attend the meeting. Jack, and authority vice president Mike Evankovich said they were also unaware that White presented the $100,000 check.
“This (water) situation has been going on since 1988,” said Jack. ” Even with a grant, it would cost each (Roseville) resident between $70 and $100 a month to pay back a (PennVest) loan and I don’t think they are willing to do that.”
Kelly, a Bradys Bend businessman acting as spokesman for Roseville residents, countered Jack’s claim.
“I’ve talked to everyone up here,” he said. “We are all in agreement. We are willing to bear the financial responsibility for any remaining money not covered by grants. PennVest loans are paid back at one-percent interest for up to 30 years.”
Kelly said there is a possibility that an outright PennVest grant would cover more than 50 percent of the remaining $560,000 needed for the project, perhaps up to 80 percent.
“If good water cost us $70 to $100 a month,” he said, “I believe we are all willing to pay that. But I think with the right grant money, the monthly cost would be way less. All we need is a green light from the Bradys Bend Authority. The project wouldn’t cost them or Brady’s Bend residents a cent, but the Authority seems unwilling to help us.”
One Bradys Bend Township resident who favors a waterline for Roseville said the Water Authority’s reluctance to support the project may stem from a misunderstanding of financial issues.
“They (the Authority) think they will have to pay for the project,” said Helen Kershbaumer, former Authority board member and current Republican committeeman.
“We’ve been campaigning for this since 1984 and it has been explained to the (Authority) board members that the Roseville people will assume all financial responsibility for any debts incurred through a PennVest loan. Yet, the board members refuse to see this. The water is not ‘their’ water, it is God’s water, and He put it here for all to use. Those poor people (in Roseville) have spent thousands of dollars drilling wells that did not produce or that went dry after a year or so. It’s just not right.”
Evankovich said the authority did not apply for the grant and as far as he is concerned, they want no part of it. However, Johnson said the grant was applied for by the Authority in 2000 and the application was signed by board president Wade Ion and approved by the board at that time.
“It was all done under the table,” Evankovich said, but did not elaborate on his statement.
“This is more than a question of drinking water,” White said. “The water quality in the area is downright bad and (Roseville) residents are concerned about the health hazards that can arise. Many residents take their clothing to a laundromat because they cannot use their wells to wash clothes. We’ve got to move forward with this.”
White secured the $100,000 grant from the state Department of Environmental Protection’s project to assure safe water fund.
Kelly said he and other residents will be meeting with the Office of Planning and Development and with PennVest officials after the first of the year.